February 9, 2016

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           FY 16-17 Budget

The Board is scheduled to formally begin the FY 16-17 budget process at the February 9 meeting.  First, the Board is asked to adopt the official FY 16-17 Budget Calendar, and second, the Board is scheduled to conduct a public hearing to receive early citizen input on the FY 16-17 budget.

FY 16-17 Budget Calendar

A copy of the suggested FY 16-17 Budget Calendar is attached  for the Board’s review.  This calendar outlines the Town’s budget process and includes key target dates in the process.

The FY 16-17 budget process begins with the items on the February 9 meeting agenda.   The FY 16-17 budget public hearing scheduled for the February 9 meeting is a chance for the Town’s taxpayers to provide input at the front-end of the FY 16-17 budget process, and we look forward to this input.  The next key step in the FY 16-17 budget process is the Board’s February 19 budget planning workshop.  The Board will review detailed budget information and discuss several potential expenditure items at that meeting, and will provide direction to Town staff regarding the Board’s priorities, concerns, ideas, etc. for FY 16-17.  Town staff and I will then consider the Board’s direction and the public’s input, and will work to develop a responsible budget during March and April.

The FY 16-17 Recommended Budget will be presented to the Board at the May 10 regular meeting.  Two budget workshop meetings are tentatively scheduled for May 17 and June 7 (both are Tuesday evenings) to review the Recommended Budget in detail.  The official public hearing on the budget is planned for the June 7 workshop meeting, with Board adoption planned for the June 14 regular meeting.  (Additional budget workshop meetings can be scheduled between May 11 and June 13 as necessary.)

The Board has the flexibility to adjust this schedule as we go through the budget process if necessary and/or desired, however, the establishment of the FY 16-17 Budget Calendar will help to keep this lengthy process on track.

Public Hearing – Early Citizen Input on FY 16-17 Budget

We have scheduled and advertised a public hearing on the upcoming FY 16-17 budget for the February 9 meeting.

NC General Statutes require the Town to conduct a public hearing on the annual budget after the Town Manager presents the Recommended Budget in May, but Emerald Isle has also historically held a public hearing prior to the start of the annual budget process in order to get citizen input at the front-end of the budget process.  The purpose of the February 9 public hearing is simply to receive comments or suggestions from our citizens regarding budget priorities for the coming fiscal year before we begin the budget process.  The hearing will give citizens a chance to voice their concerns about the tax rate, the fairness of the Town’s tax and fee structure, suggest budget and service reductions, suggest funding for certain programs or projects, etc.  All thoughtful suggestions are welcomed and encouraged. 

I have attached some basic background budget information, and I will have this information available for the public to review.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the FY 15-16 budget, the FY 16-17 budget process, and the preliminary outlook for the FY 16-17 budget at the February 9 meeting.